As I look at this empty blog post with a word count of zero, I realize that’s exactly how many words I have to say about what happened. There is no beginning and no end to describe how that tragic Sunday morning shook not only the ones who knew and loved you most, but the entire world. Though i’m still at a loss for words, I want to pay tribute in the smallest possible way.
Everyone has a “Kobe moment”, so here goes mine; I was 8 years old when I first watched the game of basketball. I thought to myself “What is this? It’s like Soccer but you play with your hands!” My uncle was a Knicks fan and growing up in New York we would watch the Knicks week in, week out. Boy, those were the days. I could name the starting 5 of the New York Knicks with Allen Houston, Latrell Sprewell, Marcus Camby, Charlie Ward and last but certainly not least, the big man himself, Mr. Patrick Ewing. Watching those guys at Madison Square Garden made a quick Knick fan out of me.
Though my love for the blue & orange was real, there was always that one special team who would always beat us. No i’m not talking about the Indiana Pacers. No, not the Miami Heat or the Spurs. Not the Raptors, or the Sixers, or the Celtics. I’m talking about the purple and yellow of the Los Angeles Lakers. I remember watching you, Sir. I remember how you tore the Knicks apart at the Garden with your boy Shaq. I hated you guys. Specially you, Kobe. That attitude you had, like you were the greatest. Little did I know that you would become.
Time after time, year after year I would watch you in that Laker uniform tear teams and players apart. My “hate” started to turn into admiration. My admiration made me a fan. Your Mamba charisma, skills, and finesse made a Laker fan out of me. Don’t get me wrong, i’m a Knickerbocker all the way. But you know what they say, “If you can’t beat em’ join em'”. I decided the Lakers were gonna be my team in the West. Of course if the Lakers went up against the Knicks in an NBA final (Which would never happen) I would obviously go with the Knicks. Cause you never know how many centuries will pass before they ever get there again. What i’m trying to say is, an 8 year old boy who knew nothing about basketball and knew nothing about you hated you for beating his team. But you were so damn good, so damn cool, in a short period of time he grew into a fan who loved watching you play the game.
Now, you are gone. So suddenly, so soon, so unexpected. You made me sad 5 times in my life. The first time was when you beat the Knicks (time and time again). The second one was when you lost to the Celtics in the finals. Cause nobody likes the Celtics. Third was when you got injured badly and fourth was when you retired. Though nothing compared to the last one. Nothing ever will. Everyday I wish it was me instead of you and your beautiful daughter in that plane. I wish this was a bad dream. Mamba had too much life, too much to give to go this soon. My heart is broken, shattered. As a family we are devastated and deeply saddened by your loss. I can only pray for your family and hope that God gives them the strength to get through this difficult time. As for all of us fans, we will honor and remember you in every way we can. We will wear your jerseys, sing your name, watch your highlights, and most of all try to adapt the “Mamba mentality” that made you the winner, the champion, the legend that you are. May God have mercy on your souls. May you rest in peace and watch over your daughters from the heavens you belong.
You will never be forgotten…
Kobe & Gianna Bryant